Books: Czech 22

THE GOOD SOLDIER ŠVEJK

by JAROSLAV HAŠEK 752 pages. Thomas Y. Crowell. $10.

The eternal innocent. The implacable innocent. The innocent who confounds authority, the sophistry of law and the mindless brutalities of bureaucracy with sheer simplicity and obdurate truth. In the endless flux of empires, ideologies and wars, he is the irreducible survivor. Such a one was Voltaire's Candide, Cervantes' Sancho Panza, Joseph Heller's Yossarian—and Jaroslav HaŠek's Good Soldier Švejk.

Fat, untidy and crapulous, Švejk is a natural disaster as a soldier. He drinks anything that is not nailed down, eats anything that is not moving, and flummoxes disciplinarians and exhorters by...

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